Live In Japan

Live In Japan

The Runaways’ tour of Japan in the summer of 1977 was the pinnacle of the quintet’s career. The Japanese audiences received the band as royalty, and the five young Californians responded with ferocity. Drawn from June ’77 shows at Tokyo Kōsei Nenkin Kaikan and the Shibuya Kokaido, Live In Japan captures the group’s attack in all its glory. The grind and punch of “Queens of Noise,” “Gettin’ Hot” and “You Drive Me Wild” translate raging hormones into arena-rock anthems. Meanwhile, “California Paradise” and “Neon Angels On the Road To Ruin” merge the unruly swing of early rockabilly with the macho swagger of KISS. The band’s choice in covers — the Troggs’ “Wild Thing” and Lou Reed’s “Rock-n-Roll”— says everything about their convictions, and they deliver both songs with aplomb. The audience’s hysteria emanates in every song; for the Japanese teenagers, seeing and hearing the Runaways was every bit as revolutionary as Elvis had been for American audiences in 1956. The album’s high point is the definitive version of the band’s signature “Cherry Bomb,” a pure fusion of thrust and electrocution.

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